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United States

Journal: Widespread Abuse of US Passport Data 1

Journal by inTheLoo

Many sources are reporting the poor state of US passport data confidentiality and subsequent abuse. More than 127 million people have had their social security number and other sensitive information unaccountably leaked.

The review by the department's inspector general was ordered after revelations in March that State Department employees and contractors had accessed the files of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama.

The inspector general's report found a much broader problem. Investigators surveyed the records of 150 high-profile Americans ... The report said that the records of 127 of those people, or 85 percent, had been accessed a total of 4,148 times, strongly suggesting attempts at unauthorized access. Their names were not identified.

"The system is unable to protect itself," said one State Department official

20,500 people have access to the data but no record is kept of access and there is no alarm system for improper access such as snooping on neighbors. This undermines IRS and Social Security efforts.


Journal: Yahoo Tells Their Side of M$ Hostile Takeover. 1

Journal by inTheLoo

Yahoo is claiming that Microsoft had no honest intentions in it's recent attempt to buy the company. The details are complex but they involve a lot of lying to the public about details, actions and benefits.

Microsoft's history of business transactions during its attempt to acquire and merge with Yahoo, a presentation to Yahoo shareholders will argue, imply that its business goals may have been to weaken Yahoo rather than strengthen it.

There are many instances that show Microsoft acted in bad faith and their supposedly "generous" offer essentially gave them complete control for much less than the company and business is worth. The allegations include:

  • Hypocritical, public claims of intransigence.
  • A real cap on the stock offer of $34, while publically claiming much more.
  • Withdrawing even that offer for one much worse, for control of search and the Yahoo experience for a 10 year period with only three years worth of promisses.

Yahoo people concluded their presentation by showing that the Google deal left the site visibly untouched and Yahoo with far more control. They accuse M$ of never being interested in a real merger.


Journal: Microsoft to advertise Live Search with 404 spam.

Journal by inTheLoo

Microsoft wants you to send 404 errors to their second rate search engine just like they will. Ars thinks this is a good idea, and notes you can chose your search engine and limit the search to your own site. What are the chances someone lost at your site will find what they are looking for with a search? Why would I want to use Microsoft's custom 404 page when so many others are available or I could roll my own? Why would I want to use a search engine that with results so obviously filtered by hand (first result is, "Digg - How to Remove Linux and Install Windows XP" others are pure FUD).

Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.